CMS reminds EPs of MU Public Health Objectives deadline

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently sent out a reminder to eligible professionals striving to adhere to the stage 2 meaningful use requirements in 2015. In order to do so, they must complete the meaningful use health objectives. The notice reminded providers that they have until March 1, 2015, to successfully complete an essential step to achieve these objectives. 

New rulemaking may bring new reporting deadlines 
One of the initial steps to complete the meaningful use health objectives is registering for the ongoing process in which providers send data to either a program, a public health agent or a relevant organization. This must be done 60 days prior to their EHR reporting period – the final one begins in March. 

According to EHR Intelligence, the CMS explained that the current deadline is a reflection of its previously announced intentions to shorten the 2015 meaningful use reporting standards to three months instead of a full year. The agency reported at the end of January that in addition to extending the reporting periods, it will create other rulemaking for the EHR Incentive Programs. This is particularly important with the stage 3 meaningful use standards set to be implemented in the near future. 

If the 2015 reporting period is reduced to 90 days, March 1, 2015, would be the deadline for the first 90-day reporting period for eligible professionals. This is only one of the new deadlines that would emerge this year as a result of this change. 

Tasks to complete public health objectives for stage 2 MU
The CMS listed the tasks that must be performed in order to meet the public health objectives as a component of stage 2. 

1. The first objective includes the registration of intent to initiate the ongoing submission in accordance with the current EHR reporting period. The ongoing submission must also have been achieved during last year's reporting period.

2. Registration of intent to initiate ongoing submission was made by the deadline – within 60 days of the start of the EHR reporting period. The eligible provider or hospital must also be engaged in testing and validation of ongoing electronic submission.

3. The eligible provider or hospital is expecting an invitation to begin testing and validation.

4. Ongoing submission has continued throughout the current EHR reporting period using the 2014 certification standard or the Health Level 7 version 2.3.1. These standards must have been used in the 2011 Edition EHR certification criteria throughout the EHR reporting period when ongoing submission was successful. Continuous submission should have been effective in the prior year's reporting period as well.  

There are two specific situations in which the eligible provider will immediately be considered unsuccessful at achieving the public health objectives. The first is failing to register their intent within the two months before the EHR reporting period. They will also fail at meeting these standards if they do not participate in the on-boarding process, which would be due to their failure on more than one occasion to respond to the PHA requests for action during the 30 days.